Is Flight Insurance Worth It?

Flight insurance increases the cost of your trip, but it might be a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson
  • 8+ years writing about insurance, taxes, and personal finance

  • Certified public accountant

Janet applies her experience in personal finance, taxes, and accounting to make complex financial topics accessible. Her byline has appeared on numerous web media.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Updated October 12, 2023

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Planning a trip takes a lot of time and effort — not to mention a lot of money. And sometimes, a trip feels more like an investment than a getaway. So when things go wrong, it can cause a lot of stress — especially when there’s money at stake.

If you’re in the middle of planning an upcoming trip, you may have noticed opportunities to purchase flight insurance. It’s an added cost, so is flight insurance worth it?

As there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, here’s the information you need to answer that question for yourself.

Understanding flight insurance

Flight insurance typically reimburses you for the cost of your airline ticket if you have to cancel your trip due to a covered reason. Policies can come with different terms and conditions, but flight insurance generally covers cancellations due to:

  • Bad weather

  • Equipment failure or other unexpected delays that cause you to miss a connecting flight

  • Mid-flight emergencies that force the plane to land at a different airport, causing you to require other transportation

  • Sudden medical issues before a flight, such as injury or illness

  • Jury duty obligations before your flight

  • Death of an immediate family member or traveling companion

  • Lost luggage[1]

Important Information

Some policies pay a flat, fixed amount should something happen, rather than reimbursing you for your actual travel expenses. Make sure you read any policy before signing to understand how your insurer would cover any potential losses.

Flight insurance vs. regular travel insurance

Travel insurance is another option that provides financial protection in the event you need to cancel your trip. People often confuse flight insurance and travel insurance, but they offer different types of coverage.

Flight insurance specifically covers your flight (and potentially luggage), while travel insurance is more all-encompassing, covering other aspects of your trip, such as hotel reservations and prepaid tours. Some travel insurance companies also offer travel medical insurance, which provides coverage if you become ill or get injured while traveling abroad.[2]

Here’s how they compare.

Flight Insurance ProsFlight Insurance Cons
  • Helps recover cost of non-refundable flights
  • Sometimes possible to purchase coverage directly through airline’s website
  • May cover lost or damaged luggage
  • Could be more expensive than travel insurance yet provide less coverage
  • Depending on policy terms, may only cover extreme circumstances
  • Doesn’t cover other losses such as cruises, hotels, rental cars, or prepaid tours
Travel Insurance ProsTravel Insurance Cons
  • Covers additional costs beyond flight costs if you must cancel a trip
  • Some policies offer “cancel-for-any-reason” coverage
  • You may be able to buy an annual policy that covers all travel during the year
  • Typically has to be purchased through a third party rather than from airline
  • Policies provide comparatively little coverage in exchange for your premium
  • If you don’t use it, you don’t get your money back

Types of flight insurance

Like car insurance, flight insurance can vary from policy to policy and from company to company. Here are a few different types of flight insurance airlines offer:

  • illustration card

    Trip cancellation coverage

    If you cancel your trip for a covered reason — such as a sudden illness or death in your immediate family — trip cancellation insurance reimburses the cost of your non-refundable flight expenses.

  • illustration card

    Trip interruption

    If you must cancel your plans mid-trip due to a covered reason, this kind of policy covers the cost of your canceled flight plus expenses you incur for the emergency trip home.

  • illustration card

    Trip delays

    If you experience travel delays for reasons outside of your control, you may be reimbursed for the extra costs you incur, such as meals and a hotel stay.

  • illustration card

    Lost or damaged luggage

    Some policies cover the cost of lost, stolen, or damaged luggage. Read the fine print, though, as your policy may only provide secondary coverage after you file a claim with your homeowners insurance company.

Is flight insurance necessary?

Flight insurance could be beneficial, but it’s not strictly necessary. To help you decide whether you should purchase it, here are a few things to consider.

When you should buy flight insurance

Purchasing flight insurance might be a good investment in the following situations:

  • International travel: Traveling abroad comes with many unknowns, especially if you need to take multiple connecting flights to reach your destination. Purchasing flight insurance protects your investment if you need to cancel your trip, miss a connecting flight, or need an emergency flight home for medical reasons.

  • Multiple flights: Even when flying domestic, connecting flights can cut it close. Flight insurance can provide coverage if equipment failure, bad weather, or other flight delays cause you to miss a connecting flight.

  • Medical conditions: If you have a medical condition and worry about the level of care you’d receive if you experienced a medical emergency while traveling, flight insurance can cover the cost of an emergency evacuation home.

In Short

Flight insurance might be a good choice any time you consider your flight a large financial investment that would cause you financial difficulties if something went wrong.

When you don’t really need flight insurance

Sometimes, flight insurance isn’t worth it. Here are some situations in which you might not want to bother:

  • Domestic travel: Flight insurance might not be worth the cost if you’re traveling in familiar territory and within a reasonable distance from home. If flight cancellations happen, the airline may be able to get you on another flight right away. If you experience a medical emergency, you can get quality medical attention without flying home.

  • Low-cost fares: If you’re lucky enough to snag a deal on your airfare, it might cost more to insure your trip than you paid for the flights.

  • Refundable tickets: If your airfare is refundable or allows changes, flight insurance might not be necessary. Knowing you can either get your money back or use the credit toward a future trip might be reassurance enough.

  • Your credit cards provide adequate coverage: Some credit cards offer trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance that might reimburse you for your losses if you need to cancel your trip due to an illness or injury, weather, or other emergencies.[3] Call your financial institution to ensure you understand the terms and conditions of your policy.

Evaluating flight insurance options

If you decide flight insurance or a travel insurance plan makes sense for your situation, be sure to shop around to get the best deal. Remember to look beyond cost and read the fine print to understand what the policy covers and if it makes financial sense for you.

How to compare different flight insurance policies

When comparing flight insurance policies, consider the following:

  • Covered instances: The term “covered instances” refers to situations in which the policy provides coverage. For example, don’t just assume all bad weather counts for canceled flights. Read the fine print to determine what kinds of weather events your policy covers.

  • Proof of claim: Understand what’s expected of you if you need to request reimbursement for a canceled flight or other claim.

  • Premiums: Cost is always a factor. Determine not only what you’ll pay for coverage but also what percentage of the flight cost or other costs the insurance company will reimburse.

  • Cancellation terms: Some policies have a “free-look” period, allowing you to cancel your policy within a specific time frame if you decide you don’t want the coverage after all and haven’t filed a claim.

What to consider when buying flight insurance

When deciding whether flight insurance is worth it, consider the following:

  • No emergency medical coverage: Some travel insurance policies cover emergency medical expenses and dental care. Flight insurance typically doesn’t cover medical emergencies, except possibly the cost of an emergency flight home. If you’re concerned about injuries or illness while traveling, you might want to consider a more robust travel insurance policy instead of flight insurance.

  • Baggage concerns: Consider what you’ll pack and whether it’s replaceable. Not all flight insurance policies cover lost, damaged, or stolen luggage. If you’re concerned about suffering a big financial loss if your luggage goes missing, make sure your policy provides adequate coverage.

  • Travel assistance services: If you experience an emergency while traveling, will you need travel assistance services? Travel assistance provides information, referrals, and other support if you have an emergency while traveling. For example, if you lose your contacts or eyeglasses while traveling, travel assistance services can help transfer your prescription to a local optometrist for a replacement.

Flight insurance FAQs

Still not sure whether flight insurance is worth it? Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about flight insurance.

  • Does flight insurance cover cancellation?

    It depends. Some flight insurance covers cancellations but only for specific reasons listed in the policy terms and conditions. Some common reasons include bad weather, equipment failure, or a mid-flight emergency.

  • Is flight insurance really necessary for every trip?

    Flight insurance isn’t necessary. However, if you’re concerned about losing the money you spent on your flight due to unforeseen events and losing that money would cause you financial hardship, buying flight insurance might provide some peace of mind and financial protection.

  • How does the cost of flight insurance compare to the potential losses it covers?

    The cost of flight insurance depends on the company and policy terms, but it typically costs anywhere from 5% to 10% of the cost of your trip. On the other hand, if you have a covered event, you can get as much as 100% of your flight costs back. Of course, every policy differs, so it’s important to read the fine print to determine if it’s worth it.

  • When is flight insurance worth it?

    When your flight needs to arrive on time to make a connecting flight, a cruise ship departure, or a prepaid tour, flight insurance might be a good idea, as it gives you peace of mind. Flight insurance might also be worth it if you fly internationally and pay a lot for non-refundable tickets.

  • When is flight insurance not worth the cost?

    Flight insurance might not be worth the cost if you’re taking an inexpensive flight to a nearby city, going on vacation in an area where you know quality medical care is readily available, or when you have a refundable or changeable ticket.


  1. Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. "What Does Flight Insurance Cover?."
  2. NAIC. "Travel Insurance."
  3. Chase. "How does travel insurance work on a credit card?."
Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson

Janet Berry-Johnson, CPA is a freelance writer with a background in accounting and income tax planning and preparation. She's passionate about making complicated financial topics accessible to readers. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and son and their rescue dog, Dexter. Visit her website at

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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